Survivor Winners at War: Why ____ was sent to Edge of Extinction twelfth

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

At Winners at War’s most explosive Tribal Council yet, the tribe spoke for the twelfth time, sending another winner to Edge of Extinction. Here, we explain why this winner was voted out.

First, we want to emphasize that this is an unpredictable, top-tier Tribal Council. If you haven’t watched this episode of Survivor: Winners at War yet, be warned that we will be spoiling an exciting night for you.

Over the last few episodes, we have seen the tribe overwhelmingly agree on a single target. This episode, we are thankfully served some conflict. The 10-person tribe is perfectly divided with five players on each side. To make sense of tonight’s vote, we need to break down the special powers in play here.

First, we know that Sarah intends to use her Vote Steal advantage before the votes are cast. Heading into a deadlocked 5-5 vote, it would be the perfect opportunity to play it and turn the tide. When Jeff asks the players if they are ready to vote, Sarah and Jeremy both speak up to play their advantages. This confirms that Sarah & Friends planned on playing the Vote Steal even before Tribal Council’s fireworks.

Then Jeremy plays the Safety Without Power advantage, excusing himself from Tribal Council. This puts the tribe at a lopsided 5-4 power dynamic. Sarah decides to play the Vote Steal anyway, ensuring a 6-3 stronghold over the minority.

There are a couple of ways for the majority to play with the power at this point. When Sophie suggests that the majority convenes separately to discuss their new plan, this is what they are discussing; how not to get blindsided by a savvy idol play within the minority.

The tribe votes. Kim has an idol to play. Taking a long moment to consider her best option, she plays it for Denise.

Jeff reads the votes: Two for Denise (does not count); two for Sophie; five for Tyson. That makes him the first person from Survivor: Winners at War to be voted out twice in the same season.

There are a couple of things to notice here. First, the majority must have figured Tyson was least likely to be immunized by an idol, and it paid off for them. Sarah’s legacy with the Vote Steal may have primed Kim to expect a Denise blindside, and Tyson’s status as a player returning from the Edge may have branded him as a can’t-win-the-season player.

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If those premises are true, then Tyson was the safest target for the majority (because he may have been the perfect goat for everyone remaining in the game, and therefore the least predictable target).

Another item of interest: there are only two votes for Sophie, not three as we would expect. In the voting compilation video, we see Michele (in the minority) voting for Tyson as well, throwing her arms up in the air with an air of “I dunno” energy. This suggests that, among all the whispering and sideways glances at Tribal Council, someone like Nick tipped her off to the majority’s plan.

With Sarah’s Vote Steal advantage, and Michele more flexible than the other four players in the minority, the season’s twelfth Tribal Council wasn’t as deadlocked as it first appeared. Even if Jeremy had stuck around, it may have been a 7-to-3 vote. Once he left, it became a 7-to-2 vote. There are several ways the majority could have split their votes among the minority, but even with a successful idol play and/or a re-vote, Kim, Denise, and Tyson were fighting an impossible battle.

Basically, Tyson was on the wrong side of the numbers this week … again. There was a real chance he could survive this Tribal Council with an idol play, but within a doomed alliance there was nowhere for him to run. He is now the fifth and twelfth winner voted out in Survivor: Winners at War, but not for lack of trying.

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Tyson, the tribe has spoken.